TxFIND

The Texas Faith Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities and their Families

Background

The development of TxFIND comes from the desire of four faith inclusion projects with people with disabilities and their families in Texas, funded by grants from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD), to:

  • Connect with each other as one network, and with others in the state of Texas, who are interested in starting and/or strengthening inclusive ministry and faith supports for and with people with disabilities and their families in their own faith communities, and;
  • Encourage the development of other local or regional networks in Texas as a means of support, resource sharing, and education.

Summary Description and Mission of TxFIND

The Texas Faith Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities and their Families (TxFIND) is a- multi-faith statewide network whose mission is to link congregations, organizations, or individuals who wish to start and/or strengthen the inclusion and contributions of people with disabilities and their families in the faith communities of their choice.

As our name implies, TxFIND is committed to:

  • Finding people, congregations, and organizations interested in inclusive faith supports for people with disabilities and their families.
  • Finding and assisting people with disabilities and their families who have experienced barriers of attitude, architecture, and actions that have separated them from participating in faith communities of their own preference and/or tradition.
  • Finding and sharing successful strategies and resources for building inclusion and contribution.
  • Finding ways to learn from one another in Texas and others around the country through shared information and, potentially, collaborative training events.
  • Being guided by the expressed dreams and needs of people with disabilities and their families

TxFIND will start as a statewide email listserv, web page, and Facebook page hosted by the Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas in Austin.

Free membership in TxFIND is open to anyone interested in its mission: clergy, lay people, people with disabilities and family members, advocacy organizations, professionals, service providers, and others in the general public. One becomes a member by signing up for the Listserv at:

https://utlists.utexas.edu/sympa/subscribe/txfind

Once you have subscribed, to send a message to the members of TxFIND, send it to TxFIND@utlists.utexas.edu

You can also link to TxFIND through Facebook at

www.facebook.com/TxFIND

Please feel free to share this document and these addresses with others.

TxFIND is led by an initial Steering Committee composed of the coordinators of four interfaith inclusion projects funded by the TCDD (Abilene, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth), members of their Project Advisory Committees, staff at the Center for Disability Studies at UT Austin, TCDD, and consultant to the network, Bill Gaventa (Waco).

Future organizational structure will be determined and developed by statewide interest, participation, and shared vision.

Clarifying our Vision

  • By inclusion, we mean the opportunity for people with disabilities and their families to attend and participate in congregations and faith communities of their choice for the same reasons anyone else does: worship, education, fellowship, and service with opportunities to both give and receive in their faith community.
  • We seek to encourage inclusive faith supports that involve people with disabilities and their families in the full life of a congregation or faith community, while recognizing and affirming that faith supports can take many forms as they develop and grow.
  • We believe that inclusive faith supports provide transformative opportunities in both spirit and growth for people with disabilities and their families as well as for the congregations in which they participate.
  • We also believe that faith communities can play a leading role in enabling people with disabilities and their families to participate as active citizens and members of the communities in which they are located.
  • We are not seeking to develop a new religious community, take away from current initiatives within faith networks or congregations, nor encourage people to change their faith traditions.  
  • We do believe that people can learn from oneanother across faith and human service traditions.